Thursday, February 15, 2018

Remembering That Tragic Day in Dallas

It's hard to believe that 2018 will mark the 55th anniversary of an American tragedy: the assassination of an American president in Dallas, Texas.  On November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was killed by a sniper during a parade.  It really shook the country, if not the world, as he was young, 46, and popular with a wife and small children.
It turns out that the site was not far from where our summit meeting was last week.  So after the meeting was over on Thursday, a group of us made the several block walk down to Dealy Plaza where it happened.
Here is the former Texas School Book Depository where the sniper, Lee Harvey Oswald, did the shooting.  He was on the sixth floor and shot from the window on the far right.  There is a small white piece of paper to show his exact spot.  This building is still some local government building.  But on the sixth and seventh floors is a museum about the event.  Good call.  I couldn't imagine working on the sixth floor after that.
This is at the place called Dealey Plaza.  There is a description of what took place on the marker behind the guys.  The others are on the edge looking out on the street where the car was.
This is where it happened, X marks the spot.  He was shot twice.  There is another X a little ways away.  Real Kennedy assassination students will recall the Zapruder film.  That is a video shot by  parade watcher Abraham Zapruder that caught the bullets impact.  It was widely studied as evidence after the assassination took place.  He was actually standing on that white block extending outward on the left of that tall door-looking space.  And this is also the so-called "grassy knoll" where it was thought that there was a second shooter.  All these years later it has never been totally resolved to everyone's satisfaction that Oswald acted alone.  I think this is where the term "conspiracy theory" started.  Or took off. 
So of course we had to go through the museum.  Unfortunately you can't take pictures on the sixth floor.  It has a pictorial history of the Kennedy election and events leading up to the assassination, and then the aftermath.  They actually have the corner where Oswald acted walled off with glass, and left exactly as it was.  This picture was taken from the same corner of the building, but on the seventh floor where you can take pictures.  So the parade procession came from the street on the left between the two red brick buildings, and turned this way onto Houston Street.  Then a short distance to that crosswalk, where they turned left onto Elm Street.  That brick building back on the left and the lighter one next to it is the county jail where they took Oswald after he was arrested that same day.  And two days later he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby in that building as he was being taken to county jail.  It too was caught on film.  And this all added to the conspiracy theory.  That white fountain across the street is Dealey Plaza where we were earlier.
And this is looking down Elm Street where Oswald aimed and sent his lethal shots.  You can see an X on the street.  Of course the trees are much larger now.  But this is the view.  Immediately after, the limousine convertible sped ahead to a nearby hospital.
This is an actual flag that flew at half staff over the U.S. capitol.  They had a picture of it flying back then.  It is a large flag going nearly from floor to ceiling in this tall room. 
So that was an interesting visit into history.  I was 7 years old when that happened.  I really don't remember much other than the quiet sorrow it put over everyone around.  Of course I knew all about it later growing up.  But I never thought I would actually ever be where it happened.  There were a number of people at the plaza and in the museum, so it's still something important even now.  And the Agro group I was with was aware of what happened here and who it was, even though most were born years later. So that's good.  Even Zouheir, who was a youngster in Syria when it happened was familiar with this part of American history.  Interesting.  That picture of Jack and Jackie Kennedy at the top was from the seventh floor and also went from floor to ceiling.  It was a very moving experience to see this place.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ag PhD Soil Clinic....Glad It Was Inside

So every winter, Brian and Darren Hefty put on Agronomy and Soil Clinics all over the Upper Great Plains.  Naturally we wanted to go to one.  So Stephanie and I went to Grand Forks, ND for the Monday Soil Clinic.  Probably should not have looked at the morning temperature as that bed was so warm.  But time to get going. 
There was a good turn-out by hearty growers from the North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba, and Michigan.  Probably other places too.  We estimated over 250. They basically went over principles of how to read a soil test and make your own fertilizer recommendations.  And of course they mentioned Pro-Germinator and Sure-K as good sources of readily-available nutrition.
  
 There were several supplier displays out in the lobby...one of which was AgroLiquid of course.  Our local host was Sales associate Andy from Wahpeton, ND.  Well maybe not that local.  Andy works for Retail Partner Schlechter Ag Liquid.
 At 2 pm CST it was time for the Ag PhD Radio show. You can tell they are on the radio because they are wearing headphones.  Hope you caught it that day.
 So that was a good way to spend the day.  They are sincere in their efforts to get growers to better under stand soils and soil tests.  They mentioned that it is common practice for fertilizer dealers to promote programs that are not correct for what is needed.  Naturally AgroLiquid is not one of these.  Everything we do is based on soil tests that define your specific nutrient needs.

After that, it was time to head back to Michigan.  I have a reputation for taking pictures of everything.  But I thought this was a cool pic coming into Minneapolis at dusk.
There are upcoming Soil Clinics in both Scottsdale, AZ......and Winnipeg, MT.  You decide which one you will attend.  I've been to Grand Forks, so I am suitably trained.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

So What Do All of These Swell People Have In Common?

(So it's Sunday and not a big news day, except for this occasion.  Here is a re-post from February 11, 2015.)

Shouldn't be that hard to figure out.  And the club meeting was fab by the way.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

AgroLiquid Summit of Knowledge

So with spring rapidly approaching, there was an opportunity for Retail Partners to get the latest and up-to-datest info from AgroLiquid at the Dallas Summit last week.  It was in Dallas.  It was nice that the tall building across from our hotel acknowledged our presence by lighting up in Agro Green.
 CEO Troy kicked it off with the opening address covering all of the tools available to our Retail Partners to enable offerings of AgroLiquid to deserving growers this spring.  
 There were a number of separate break-out presentations for in-depth discussion of specific topics.  Like this one from Zouheir on soil microbiology and the effects of PrimAgro on soil health.  Very enlightening.
Back in the big room, Stephanie discussed the library of product slides and support information available to better present info to growers.
 Ashley from Sales appears pleased at a presentation while Regional Sales Manager Brian takes detailed notes.
In order to stay mentally fresh, we went out to a place for some outdoor activities.  Here we see Agronomist Reid blast a flying clay.  But in his mind it was a bag of 11-52-0.
 Kathryn from Marketing gets in on the action.  Not sure who she is imagining at the end of the barrel.  Did I say "who"?  I meant "what".
 One thing we do at Agro events is eat well.  And we did here too.  I mean you get hungry pulling the trigger.
And everyone will be pulling the trigger on sales of AgroLiquid plant nutrition.  Why use anything else?  Anything else will make the plants frown.  

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Agronomic Sciences Gets to Planning

So even though it's January, it's never too early to review and plan for the upcoming year.  Last week we had our winter Agronomic Science meeting at the St. Johns office.  Agronomic Science is the technical arm of AgroLiquid, consisting of Research and Agronomy.  At the meeting we enjoyed the support from our chemist and Senior Sales manager as we took a final review of 2017 and started thinking about 2018.  There are a variety of new experimental test products for evaluation, plus the product support tests that will be conducted at the NCRS and elsewhere.  And plenty of crop demonstrations at the AgroExpo in August.
At this in-depth juncture, we see (from left end) Galynn, Stephanie, Reid, Chris, Jeff, Zouheir, John, Dan, Jay, Tim and Nick.  With this amount of brainpower, how could there be any problem that would not be solved?  Well we weren't quite running on full power as Agronomist JW didn't make it due to a blizzard somewhere.  (I made him show me a note from his meteorologist.)  I hope you have a chance to visit the NCRS or other field test going on in 2018.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Aloha Beautiful Kauai

So one of the nicest things in Kauai are the beautiful sunrises.  (And one of the few things that is free.)  It is actually the most colorful before the sun comes up when the clouds turn orange.
 And just like clockwork, up comes the sun.  Usually around 7:20.  Most mornings there are clouds on the horizon.  But on this morning the sun had the whole sky.
Out near the pool of the resort is a cascading water fall.
If you are brave enough, and of course I was, you can climb up and dive off.
Here is a waterfall where diving is not recommended.  It is Wailua Falls and is just over a 100 feet drop.  But you still read about someone that dives off and gets hurt. Genetic cleansing.
 On the North end of the island is the Kilauea Lighthouse.  It was opened in 1913 and was manned until 1974.  There were no roads here during construction in 1912, so they had to haul the building supplies in by boat and lift them up to the top of the cliff.  People must have been stronger then. Can you imagine that?
 There is a National Wildlife Refuge along the cliffs and on the grounds of the lighthouse.  You will frequently see the state bird of Hawaii: the Nene goose.
 There is this pretty island just offshore from the lighthouse.  There is usually a bird flying around so you can have it in your picture.  There were whales breaching that day, but they wouldn't let you know when they would do that.  Plus they were pretty far away.
If you were in Hawaii in 1790, here is your ruler and his cabinet: King Kamehameha.  He was the first ruler of a unified Hawaii.  He's the big guy in the middle. There is a nice historic display in Hanalei.
 Want some jewelry for your collection? Then you can buy these Ni'ihau shell necklaces in a store in Hanalei.  These are made from shells found on the forbidden island of Ni'ihau.  It is privately owned and has a small population of Native Hawaiians who still speak Hawaiian as their first language.  From what I've read, it is primitive as there is no running water or electricity.  They used to run cattle, but no more.  They get money from the DOD for some installation there.  And they make shells necklaces. The larger outer one can be yours for $50,000.  Too much?  The smaller one is only $27,000.  But they are known world wide.
 One night a group of us went to see Ben at Kauai Eco-Clay shooting range.  That's right, a night shoot.  It also was very fun.  One of the highest rated activities on the island.  We have known Ben for years, and he always treats guest from AgroLiquid like ohana (family).
 You have to go see Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  Spectacular!
A little further up the road is the overlook of the Kalalau Valley.  Hundreds of years ago, hundreds of Hawaiians lived down there.  Hard to imagine what that was like.
 Once upon a time, when the Agro group was smaller, we used to have lunch at this place called Waimea Cottages and then go down to the beach.  I used to make people form up under this Banyon tree for a group picture.
 One somewhat common feature is seeing the Hawaiian Monk seals come ashore for a nap during the day.  They are protected, so you can't go up and pet them.  It is interesting as they have a patrol of volunteers all over the island that seem to know their favorite spots, because as soon as they come ashore there is a rope barrier set up.  They often will sleep for six hours or so and then go back in.  They don't seem bothered by all of the people around.  This was at my favorite snorkeling spot: Poipu Beach.
 Well I could show more, but it's time to say Aloha and head home and get back to work selling fertilizer.  I hope that the people who were there this time recognize most of these pictures.  And resolve to come back.
And I also hope that people who weren't there are able to get motivated to sell some fertilizer and qualify for the trip that AgroLiquid provides. One foot on the island, and it will be worth all of the hard work.  And the Research Team is anxious to provide help to make it happen.  And everyone else?  Well put a visit to Kauai on your To-Do list!
Laki maika'i.  (Good Luck!)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Up the Sleeping Giant

So a popular event during the AgroLiquid Kauai visit is climbing the Sleeping Giant mountain.  That's it in the background looking North from the resort during a colorful sunrise.
On this morning there were 25 brave souls looking for adventure.  I think that's the biggest group that I've ever climbed with.  
 So we start out the 2+ mile hike up that will end at an elevation of 1240 feet.  Running is optional.  For kids. Not an option for me.  
 Sometimes the trail is relatively flat and easy.
 But most of the time you are going up an incline.  It is a mountain after all.
Stephanie and son Gabe pause at a scenic lookout.  That is our destination.  The pointy part on the right of the head is the chin and the left point is the forehead.  I think.  But we will be there soon.
 Careful Troy.  One of the several challenging parts of the "trail".
 Almost to the top.  We're not going to let a little cliff action at 1200 feet keep us from the top.
 And on the summit.  Looking back to the mountain side towards Mt. Waialeale (behind the cloud).  Probably getting some of it's 450+ inches of annual rainfall.
Some people carefully pose on the Giant's chin like Carlos and son Liam.  Just don't look down.
I'm not going all that way up without some chin time.
 Looking back from the chin towards the forehead are a string of AgroLiquid climbers.  It is slow and careful going from one end to the other.  You can see the steep dropoff on either side.
 Here is the view from on top looking back to the chin.  See the notched rock formation?  And the Pacific Ocean in the background.  It was a great day for the climb.
If you know where to look, there is a small cave under the chin that is kind of cool.
After fun at the top, it's time to make the trip back down. Everything you went up must be gone down. Retail Partner Darrel from Colorado makes sure it's safe by following these two climbers, also from Colorado.  Although Colorado is known for it's mountains, where Darrel lives in NE Colorado it's flat as a table.
So that was a nice time.  I'm pretty sure all 25 Agro climbers made it down.  Forgot to do a roll call. We started climbing a little after 8 and were back by 11.  It is better to start early while it's cool.  Next time you're there, remember Sleeping Giant = fun.